March: The Emerald Month in California

It’s the emerald month in California. While most of America waits for spring’s first crocuses to pop through mud and snow, California glows electric green everywhere you go—everywhere except the Sierra, which are buried beneath 15ft of white. Where to head now? Anywhere. Get in the car and drive, preferably through the foothills of the Sierra (where this picture was taken),  but even I-5 looks fantastic in March.

Lake Tahoe Winking Through the Trees

The skiing in the Sierra this season has been epic, and the current series of cold storms means the snow will last well past April. Horizon Air started new service to Mammoth Lakes from LAX and SJC, shortening the 7-hour drive from the Bay Area to a mere 45 minutes, meaning you can ski California’s top ski mountain the same day you arrive. My top pick for Tahoe this season has been Alpine Meadows, where powder stashes remain days after a storm. Tip: If you’re an expert, find the Palisades—that’s Tahoe winking at you through the trees.

Forgive my silence: I’ll be in Provence and the Côte d’Azur for the spring, researching a new book for Lonely Planet. If I have time, I’ll update you on what’s happening on the French Riviera—with any luck, I’ll be typing from a yacht in St-Tropez. Regardless, I’m back in May. See you on the road, if not the Mediterranean.